Virgin Territory

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Virgin Territory TV Poster Image
Graphic but thoughtful sex talk in reality series.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The notion that sex is something all young people should want and should have underpins the series, but its participants do a nice job of exploring this idea and staying true to their own beliefs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents will be pleasantly surprised that the real people featured on the show are not cinematic horndogs but instead have varying reasons for abstaining from sex, which the show treats with dignity.

Violence
Sex

No nudity or on-screen sex, but the sex talk is graphic and constant. Participants talk about casual sex, STDs, erections, oral sex, lubricants, pregnancy, birth control, bodily fluids, and many other sexual topics. Characters talk frankly about their virginity and their sexual desires, and, when (if) they have sex during the duration of the show, they discuss what it was like.

Language

Some cursing, including words discussing body parts: "boobs," "ass," "dick." Men call another man a "p---y" for not having had sex yet.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer and cocktails at a party; they discuss how drinking will lower their inhibitions or make them act differently.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Virgin Territory is a reality show about twentysomething virgins who frankly discuss their sexual experiences (or lack thereof), fantasies, and fears on-screen. Viewers can expect to hear frequent jokes and discussion about body parts, masturbation, STDs, oral sex, casual sex, and many other varieties of sex. Sometimes the talk is quite graphic, but much of it also is thoughtful and self-reflective. Many points of view about sex are considered and treated with dignity. No nudity on-screen, but young men go to a strip club with scantily clad dancers who give them lap dances and jiggle their body parts. As the show progresses, cast members who lose their virginity drop out of the show -- but not before discussing the experience.

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What's the story?

There are two types of virgins: The ones who are happy with their statuses, and those who aren't. Both types are spotlighted in MTV's hour-long reality series VIRGIN TERRITORY, which introduces the viewer to twentysomethings in different cities and different situations who have one thing in common: They haven't yet had sex. Kyle, 20, a muscle-bound college student, finds his status embarrassing and chalks it up to a mom who scared him about STDs and a dad who died early. Lisa, 23, is a pious Christian who's waiting for her forthcoming wedding to lose her virginity. Dominique, 22, wants a lasting relationship before she's willing to share her body. These people and others honestly share their sexual desires and experiences with the audience as we watch them attend parties, flirt, strike out, and talk to friends and family members about sex. Some of the participants lose their virginity in the course of the series and depart; as they do, new virgins replace them to relate their stories.

Is it any good?

Virgin Territory sounds like (and is) a logical extension of MTV's Teen Mom franchise. If the network is to make dramatic hay out of young mothers, it's interesting to find out how they got that way, right? Turns out, yes, it is, although Virgin Territory focuses on both male and female virgins, who reveal their uncomfortable emotions winningly to the camera. Their unique viewpoints and backgrounds are treated with dignity and respect: Christian virgin Lisa is shown visiting her pastor with her husband-to-be, giggling nervously as he talks about partners pleasing each other; 19-year-old college co-ed Mikaela tells the camera straightforwardly that she's "actively looking to lose her virginity" but that she's looking for a man she cares about a lot and "hasn't found that yet."

Movies such as American Pie and Fast Times at Ridgemont High have traditionally portrayed young virgins as rapacious horndogs (if they're male) or yearning-but-exploitable romantics (if they're female). These real virgins, with their diversity of experiences, fill in that outline with real problems. Thus this thoughtful, tender series winds up being a genuine rarity: A network show about sex that takes it seriously and considers it in the context of a happy and meaningful ordinary life. This is mature subject matter, but it brings up topics parents may want their teens to think about. Parents should watch first, but then they may well be fine with their mature teens watching alone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why MTV wanted to make a reality show about virginity. Why would this be interesting to people viewing at home? What types of things might be shown or discussed that might draw viewers?

  • Describe the typical MTV viewer. Why would Virgin Territory appeal to this audience?

  • Which person on Virgin Territory do you relate to most? Do you think the show runners tried to feature different types of people on the show to give each viewer something to relate to?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 16, 2014
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14

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